I’m not ALWAYS in the mood to declutter.
That’s right! I sometimes let things pile up.
Sometimes I have stuff I know is clutter and I just don’t want to let go of it yet. At other times I want to get rid of some clutter but I just don’t have the time and energy to deal with it so it sits to the side for awhile.
What about you? Do you always feel like decluttering? I bet you don’t. There are a million reasons you might not feel like going through stuff and getting rid of it. It can be hard to get the decluttering mindset.
But if we are going to simplify our life we have to declutter and if we are going to declutter we are going to need to know how to get the decluttering mindset. So let’s figure that out together.
What is the Decluttering Mindset
When I feel like decluttering I can make a lot of progress really fast.
That’s because I’m in the mood to look through things, make decisions, and act on those decision.
When I have the decluttering mindset I am also in a place of abundance. I am not feeling like there is scarcity in my life. I am feeling full and happy. That helps me let go of the excess.
Last but not least, when I have the declutter mindset I am focused on the future. I am not worried about holding onto the past because I know that good memories are strong. Instead I’m looking forward and planning for my goals, believing I can reach them with a lighter load.
As you can see, having the decluttering mindset has a lot more attached to it than the stuff. Unfortunately our stuff is heavy with emotions like guilt, sentiment, and fear. So how can we let go of those things and get the decluttering mindset?
Like any great adventure your decluttering journey is something you have to take just one step at a time.
1: Have Energy for The Decluttering Mindset
One of the biggest challenges people talk about with me in regard to decluttering is energy. They just don’t enough energy to clear the clutter.
I get it. Health issues, time constraints, and decision fatigue can cause us to get that feeling that we just can’t deal with one more thing right now. Ironically though, if we don’t declutter we are going to have LOTS of things to deal with.
So how can we break through the weight and get enough energy to declutter? Here are a few simple solutions that will lead to great decluttering motivation.
- Only declutter one small space (a drawer, a countertop, a category of clothing, a cabinet) at a time instead of tearing apart a whole room.
- Set a 15 minute timer and declutter for only that time and then stop.
- Make it easy to get rid of stuff. Put stuff you can donate in a laundry basket or bag that goes to the donation center on the day you do errands.
- Declutter only trash at first. Save the hard stuff for later.
- Let other people help you. You can have someone pick up large pieces if you sell them on Facebook. Neighbors, family, and friends can also take stuff for you.
- Declutter when you feel like your mind is active, like after a cup of coffee or when you first wake up.
- Remember that decluttering a journey but consistency pays off.
There are lots of ways to declutter even though it may feel like you don’t have the time and energy for it. The biggest mistake is thinking you have to do it all at once. Just be consistent and do little bits as you can and big changes will happen faster than you think.
2: Feel Content With the Declutter Mindset
So we have solved the energy problem and gained the gradual decluttering mindset. But what is another obstacle to the decluttering mindset?
It’s the feeling of scarcity.
All our lives we bought and kept things just in case we might need them later. Society tells us that having extra stuff will help us in hard times. Studies have even shown that people who feel insecure in their personal lives value stuff more highly.
Have you ever gone to declutter and decided that you might as well keep most of it because you never know when you might need it? Have you ever had a yard sale and taken back items you hadn’t touched in years telling yourself you might actually use them now?
If so you are facing one of biggest hurdles in getting a good decluttering mindset. And it’s also the most common so don’t feel bad. You have a scarcity mindset.
But what can you do to break through the scarcity mindset and get the declutter mindset? Here are a few ideas:
- Look around and truly appreciate how much you have. Think about how lucky you are to be able to obtain things you need and things you like.
- Realize that the things that make you truly happy in life are not things but family and experiences.
- Understand that if a natural disaster, war, or even a family tragedy happened your things would not help you or save you. In fact they could tie you down and make things more difficult.
- Ask yourself if anyone out there could need and use this item more than you.
- Pay attention to the things that you use every day. Understanding that you have what you need and use will help you let go of what you don’t.
As you can see, a lot of our feelings of scarcity are not really realistic. After all we have more stuff than anybody ever has in the course of human history. We probably live in food stable environments and mostly likely you have a roof over your head.
Instead of feeling scarcity remember that you don’t need that much to be happy. Let go things that don’t serve you cause they might really help someone else. Let your new found freedom serve you better than the junk that has been weighing you down.
3: Think About Your Goals & Get the Decluttering Mindset
Another great way to get the decluttering mindset is to focus on the future instead of living in the past.
Start thinking about what your goals are. What do you want to be doing in the next 5 years?
You might have to sit down and really think about this. You might have to write in a journal or talk to your spouse. But I promise that knowing what you want your life to look like in the future is like an espresso shot for your decluttering mindset.
Once you can see your future you will know exactly what stuff you will need in the future you are working towards and exactly what kinds of things are just going to weigh you down.
For example, if you want to move to a smaller place so you have lower bills and less home maintenance then you know you need to get rid of old kids toys and sports equipment you no longer use.
If you are planning on starting a business and will be spending a lot less time at home you should probably let go of all the extra nick-knacks and craft supplies so your house will be easier to clean in a hurry.
What if you are planning on staying put? Still you would want to declutter things that are no longer of use so it’s easier to have friends over to the house and you can pick up new fun hobbies!
You get the picture. You need to truly picture the life you are going to be living in 5 years (or less) and start letting go of the things that don’t fit in that life. Let your goals jumpstart your decluttering motivation!
4: Don’t Feel Guilty With the Declutter Mindset
You are starting to really understand all the fine tuning it takes to get a good decluttering mindset. But there are a couple more roadblocks you might hit. One of them is GUILT.
Guilt is such an ugly feeling. It’s a horrible combination of shame, regret, and paralyzation and it can stop us from getting ANYTHING done. Guilt can even stop us from living.
When people are decluttering they feel guilt in constant and relentless waves. You may feel guilty for the following reasons:
- You feel guilty cause this item was expensive.
- This item should have been used more.
- You can’t rid of this because it was a gift.
- This is a sentimental item and you feel guilty letting go of it.
- You feel wasteful getting rid of something “perfectly useful”.
- Maybe you will lose weight and fit into it. You feel guilty for gaining weight.
Oh man, that was just awful. I feel icky just thinking about all that guilt. I mean, how could anything positive or proactive come out of that? You are definately killing your decluttering mindset with all that guilt.
Instead of feeling guilty here are some answers to the nasty thoughts in your head:
- This item was expensive but I enjoyed using it and got that benefit out of it. It “paid for itself”.
- I didn’t use this as much as I thought I would because it didn’t help me as much as I thought it would. Not my fault.
- This was a gift from someone I love and I felt that love when I got it. Now I can let it go of the item but keep the love.
- This sentimental item triggers a beautiful memory that I hold inside my heart not my shed.
- This item is useful. I should pass it on to someone who can actually use it.
- This doesn’t fit me anymore. My life and body change all the time. I can find something new that looks great on the me I am now and quit shaming myself.
So do you think you can do it? Do you think you can fight the guilt monster?
Simply look for the positive and let go of the things that make you feel guilty and awful.
It’s okay to move on.
5:The Decluttering Mindset and Your Ego
Here’s the thing, getting the decluttering mindset comes with a lot of internal speed bumps. One of the biggest ones might surprise you.
It is your ego.
Don’t get all hurt. We all have an ego and it gets in everyone’s way.
What is an ego? The dictionary put it simply as “a persons sense of self-esteem or self-importance.”.
It’s true that it is very important to have good self esteem or self worth. But at the same time we need to stop connecting are self-esteem to the stuff we own.
Our society tells us that we need lots of stuff to be “successful” and “secure. We have already talked about that a little. But that’s not where it stops. We tell ourselves things about our possessions and our self worth too.
For example you may tell yourself that having big classic books on your shelves makes you look smart even though you have never read them and don’t really want to.
Or you may hold onto your college books because you were a good student.
Maybe you keep your skinny clothes because you loved how you looked back then and your going to fit back into them.
But all of those things are examples of tying our self worth to stuff. And when you start tying your stuff to the imaginary version of yourself and a life that you aren’t actually living what happens?
You aren’t inspired. As long as your living in the past or the future you once imagined for yourself you just feel guilty and unhappy in the life you actually have.
So if you want to get the decluttering mindset you need to have real self worth. True self worth isn’t tied to stuff that makes you look like someone you aren’t.
True self worth isn’t tied to stuff at all. It should be based on your good personality traits, your achievements, and how your treat others.
Let your ego help you get in the decluttering mindset instead of letting it paralyze you by tying your ego to those important markers instead of anything you own.
6: The Decluttering Mindset is a Journey
The last problem I see a lot of people dealing with when trying to get a declutter mindset is the most paralyzing of all. What is it?
People want to declutter their whole house perfectly and completely in one weekend.
They don’t want to keep stuff they know they don’t need. And they don’t want to get tired or overwhelmed or upset.
Unfortunately, that high expectation is the most paralyzing counterproductive way to get the decluttering mindset and truly make progress.
7: STOP EXPECTING PERFECTION!
Instead, get the decluttering mindset that it will be a journey that takes time. Try your best by all means but don’t expect a one and done approach.
Don’t try to declutter your whole house at one time. Instead take it one room or even one drawer at a time.
What if you don’t feel ready to let go of something you know you don’t really need, use, or love? That’s okay! Maybe next time you will feel less attached and be able to let go.
Or what if you end up buying some new clothes or home décor or items you need for an activity?
Suddenly you feel like you have more stuff instead of less and it makes you feel like you are going backwards.
Take your time and look for things you no longer use. It will balance out.
I’ve been working on the simple life for years and one thing I’ve learned is grace. I give myself grace when I buy stuff or keep stuff because I know that I will eventually simplify again and every year my life has gotten simpler and simpler.
So you don’t feel like you have the beast mode decluttering mindset? Don’t worry! Decluttering is a journey. Relax and enjoy your unique decluttering journey at whatever speed is right for you.
What Can Help You Get the Decluttering Mindset?
As you can see the decluttering mindset is hard to get into cause there is a lot of fear attached to stuff.
Society tells us that having stuff is going to make us secure and happy. We tell ourselves that we can’t let go of things because we might need them.
Or we won’t get rid of stuff because we are afraid that someone else will get mad at us for getting rid it. Sometimes we even think we are letting someone down. That goes for sentimental items and gifts.
Another fear that surrounds our stuff and paralyzes us is the fear letting go of the past or letting go of a version of ourselves we never actually realized.
The thing is stuff really doesn’t affect our lives as much as we give it credit for. We need to let go of all these fears to get in the way of the decluttering mindset. We need to declutter fearlessly instead of staying paralyzed.
But how can we do that? It’s easier said than done!
That’s why I created the Fearless Decluttering e-book and printable pages! This decluttering program is designed to help you break free from all the fears that hold you back while you learn to declutter your home with grace while still being effective.
Fearless Decluttering contains decluttering checklists and instructions for what to do with all that stuff. It contains decluttering motivation and excuse busters for all the reasons you keep stuff! And it will help you declutter in 3 easy steps as you build your decluttering muscles!
If you want to make a huge difference in your home without making a big mess you need Fearless Decluttering!